The nomination of Gen. Michael V. Hayden to take over the CIA would trigger a fresh battle over the secret warrantless surveillance program he oversaw on behalf of President Bush, a debate that could help shape the contours of the fall midterm congressional elections, officials in both parties said yesterday.Are they? or is this a classic bait and switch? From Captain Ed:
Barring a change of heart, aides expect Bush to name Hayden tomorrow as his choice to succeed CIA director Porter J. Goss, who resigned under pressure Friday. Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency and now deputy director of national intelligence, has become the most forceful defender of Bush's eavesdropping program since its disclosure in December.
On the other hand, the concern expressed by Hoekstra and Chambliss is reasonable enough to allow the White House to withdraw Hayden -- if they choose to do so -- without acknowledging any retreat on the NSA surveillance program. The concern over military overreach is an overreaction, especially given John Negroponte's efforts to wrest budgetary control over intelligence from Donald Rumsfeld, but still a legitimate issue for independence in the intelligence community. It allows Republicans to voice their opposition to Hayden while protecting Hayden's NSA project as much as possible.Just like the White House, float the name of someone who they know will create a firestorm and then nominate someone slightly less objectionable. I guess we will know tomorrow.
These two are not on par with Lincoln Chaffee, Arlen Specter, and Olympia Snowe. Hoekstra and Chambliss represent the core of the party in regard to war policy and support. With these defections, I expect the White House to name another candidate by tomorrow morning, probably Mary Margaret Graham or Frances Townsend. Neither will be as good as Hayden, but both will cause little disruption for confirmation.